March 27, 2013, New York – Today, Center for Constitutional Rights attorneys and co-counsel responded to notice that the City of New York intends to introduce into evidence a March 5, 2013 NYPD memo revising the procedure for recording stops and frisks. The memo instructs officers to include a narrative description in addition to checking off boxes on the form, known as a UF 250.
According to attorneys, the change amounts to an admission that the system in place is inadequate. The change is one that was demanded as necessary in a brief to the court on required remedies and injunctive relief the day before the memo.
Said Baher Azmy, Center for Constitutional Rights legal director, “The NYPD has now apparently recognized the need for one piece of the necessary reform we’ve been insisting on for years and specifically requested in this case. Of course, policies on paper, as we’ve seen so vividly in this trial, are insufficient for actual reform, and to genuinely remedy the City’s illegal stops and frisks we need an independent monitor.”
On March 5, the NYPD’s chief of patrol, James Hall, issued a memo, “effective immediately,” requiring all officers filling out UF 250 forms documenting stops to include an elaboration of the circumstances and factors a stop in addition to the check-off boxes of reasons. If “furtive movements,” for instance, was cited on the form (the most commonly checked reason), a descriptive explanation must be specified in addition.
Last week, during the opening arguments in the trial, the City’s lawyer derided the idea of adding a narrative portion to the UF 250, saying “NYPD officers take the job to help people, not to be writers.” In an apparent reversal, the City requested to introduce the March 5 memo into evidence in the trial. The judge indicated that the memo could not be introduced at this time because there was no officer present in court who could testify to it, but indicated that it would be in evidence once properly admitted.
The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the City’s stop-and-frisk program on behalf of the thousands of New Yorkers who are illegally stopped each year.
The trial will last four to six weeks. It will run Monday through Friday 10am – 4:30pm each week starting March 18, except for the week of March 25, when it will begin on Wednesday, March 27, and end at noon that Friday, March 29. No hearings will be held on April 11 and 12.
Center for Constitutional Rights Co-Counsel in the case are Covington & Burling LLP and Beldock Levine and Hoffman LLP.
For more information, including attorney bios, research and detailed statistics, visit ccrjustice.org/floyd-trial-presskit
Contact us for upcoming witnesses and case developments.
Read more on the federal class action lawsuit at Floyd et al v. City of New York et al.